Previously, I discussed the importance of riding gear. While all riding gear is important, on thing above all should be worn at all times while on the bike - your helmet. Don't ever ride without one. I know it might not seem as cool, or you may want to "really feel the air, man," but you're just being stupid and begging to have your precious brains splattered all over the concrete. Wear a dang helmet.
Now, here are some helpful tips on buying your first helmet:
1. Make sure it's properly rated
Not all helmets are created equal and if the helmet you wear doesn't have an U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) sticker on it, you're not going to be as well protected as you need to be. Look for the sticker before buying.
2. Get the right style
Just like there are different styles of motorcycles, there are different styles of helmets. While these things usually coincide, they don't have to, you can wear a full-face helmet on a cruiser or an open-face helmet on a dual sport. But keep in mind, many helmets have been designed for a specific bike and style of riding. Here are the styles:
Dual sport helmets generally work well for dual sport riding, whereas the other helmet styles are a little more flexible. Still, you'll look kind of silly wearing a full-face helmet that was obviously designed for a sport bike.
Think about how you'll be riding and what motorcycle you'll be riding and go from there. There are thousands of options out there and by narrowing it down to one helmet type, you're narrowing your options enough to make a smart choice.
3. Get the right shape for your head
Nobody's head is the same, but most people's head shape falls into one of three categories: long oval, intermediate oval or round oval. These terms are pretty self-explanatory. If you have a longer shaped head, get a helmet designed for it. Round head? Get a helmet with a more rounded shape. Not only will it fit and feel better, it will look better.
I recommend taking a trip to your local motorcycle shop to get a helmet that fits right for you, but if you don't want to go in, or have and didn't see anything you liked, many helmet manufacturers also have detailed guides to help you measure your noggin and purchase a shiny new helmet online. You can always send it back if it doesn't fit and get a size up or down.
4. Get the right size.
Head shape is one thing, but you need to get the right size as well. To do this, you need to measure your head. Each manufacturer's helmets will fit different so you can't go by the sizes, you need to know your measurements.
A properly fitted helmet will fit snugly and may even seem a bit difficult to get on when brand spanking new. It will break in over time, so make sure you don't go too loose to begin with. The top the helmet should sit right above your eyebrows and you shouldn't be able to twist or move the helmet too much on your head.
5. Consider the features
There are a number of different features you can get with a helmet. There's communications, vents, high visibility, etc. Once you've narrowed down the style of helmet you want and found a few within your price range that will fit properly, make a list of the features you want on your helmet and go from there. Starting out, you probably won't need much, but if you plan on riding a lot, you may want to invest in something with some more advanced features.